After the GMAT, before the app season

As I said, I’d decided to take the GMAT first and see if my score would make it worth while applying. I took the GMAT in early July, applications go online in early August.

My GMAT was TOUGH! When you arrive in the 700 bin, the test throws in 3 tricks per question. I think I got there early, then drifted down. By the end of both sections, I was practically guessing. When the PC asked: Do you want to cancel/save this test? I almost chose Cancel. I was positive that I had flunked. (I bet this happens to everyone who scores high in the GMAT). I shrugged and chose Save It. When I saw my score, I literally lifted off the seat. Yes! Yes!! I kept making a fist.

Now, I had run out of excuses. I already had the work experience. I had a Green light from my family. My business was in a position to run itself. Now I had a decent GMAT. MBA was becoming an inevitable reality. The hard part now was: I knew I deserved a world-class MBA, but how could I convince a top school that I did?

2 weeks after my test in July I traveled to Europe for summer vacation and to visit family.

With the better access to the Net that I had there, I started checking the schools and MBA info sites for app info. I registered on the school’s sites (for updates). Also IMPORTANTLY I subscribed to the MBA-fair sites including the main one: www.topmba.com . This was vital, because as an International, I needed the schools to tell me what they were looking for. Besides I had never (and have still not) been to any Ivy league campus in my life.

I also started looking for a book about Applying to MBA schools. Books can go in-depth in a way Internet and magazines can’t. I visited Amazon for reviews. Montauk‘s book seemed the most popular. I finally saw this book after I had accepted at Wharton but I was more impressed by the book by Mendonca and Symonds : Getting the MBA Admissions Edge because this was written by actual students. A caveat is in order here. Most Adcom do not recommend these books because they propagate false stereotypes. The schools say :Your essay should reflect you, and there is only one YOU. I have always been an independent thinker though, so I knew i could read these books and still reflect ME.

To be honest, I was still somewhat cynical in July about my true motives. I could already earn a local CEO’s salary based on my reputation. Why was I leaving my career to go to school? Was I being rational? Or was it my ego in control? Also as I wanted to be sure that if I missed Wharton, whichever school I wound up with would meet my rational. (Given my age, reapplication was not an option.)

Unwittingly the important process of  intense introspection required for convincing essays had begun.

I have heard people say I will apply to only Wharton. I find this odd and foolhardy. I guess they expect it to improve their passion. In hindsight, it is equally foolish to try for 10 schools. You will not meet the minimum proof of commitment for the top schools. I was looking for 3 top 10 schools and 3 top 30 schools to spread between Rounds 1 and 2.